G+ Tip: Utilizing "Ripples" to Understand and Potentially Expand Your Reach
PART I: a proposed analysis technique that will help you to understand and/or expand your reach

EDIT 2: Ripples can only be viewed only after Ripples are made! So, if you're trying to find Ripples for a post that hasn't been re-shared, you won't find them because they don't exist!

EDIT: I had Ripples in my public post dropdown menu, then I didn't: here is a post that will help you find the Ripples for the technique/process below via +Alex Koloskov
^I haven't confirmed whether or not Ripples has rolled out to everyone yet - so some of you may not need this quick fix.

If you haven't heard - Google Ripples is now a part of the little drop down menu that is in the top right hand side of every Public post. When you click "View Ripples" it shows a nifty little graphic of how a post gets shared and reshared - and who is doing the resharing - the Ripples page also includes an analytics panel under the Ripple graphic, that panel includes:

Brief rundown of Ripples features
Influencers: People who have publicly shared/re-shared a post. The number of reshare "events" that occurred because of that Influencer's share is listed next to the Influencer's name.

Statistics: The longest chain that was shared (chain is person, to person, to person that shared a post), the average chain and also shares per hour.

Languages: Shows the languages in which your post was shared!

Using Ripples to Understand Reach

What you will need is a user who:
- is you, or,
- has posts that consistently receive high-engagement levels - which you can gauge by looking at the +1's, comments and shares.
- is not already extremely popular (to avoid the "re-sharing just to re-share" effect) - I also believe it is easier to to trace a user's Ripples with a smaller Following. However - if you're interested in high profile G+ users, go ahead and use one..

Ok, so you are endeavoring to understand the reason that you or others consistently have those crazy-high interaction numbers associated with their posts. Barring that the user in question is someone with a huge Following (Scoble, Gundotra, Elgan et al), there has to be some sort of connection right?

Someone has 100 +1's and 210 comments and 84 Shares. What makes these posts so popular? Well, it probably has something to do with the content - and that's fine - and content creation is not something that Google can do for you yet (or can they?). Let's assume that you understand why the content might be popular, but now you wonder - how did it take off? Where did those reshares come from?

My first attempt at creating a viable process for this sort of analysis is this:

Here's what I suggest, take your user - and find 5 of their popular posts by "reshare" (remember, these must be PUBLIC posts) - you can do this by:

1.) Typing their name into the G+ search, clicking on Google+ posts, and finding 5 of their popular posts ( by reshare - because we're looking for reach! )

2.) Opening those posts into their own windows/tabs.

3.) Clicking on the Ripples selection in the post drop down menu.

4.) Look for and identify patterns in the reshare flow. Are there users who reshare consistently and often? Is there a time of day where reshares seem to happen more frequently? What does the life of a post look like once it is reshared? Is it born in brilliance only to die out in a half hour or so?

Which one of these factors helped spread that killer content? Was it just one? Was it a mixture of all? Was it luck?

Once you have answers (if you have answers) - what do you think are the best ways to replicate the success of these Users' posts?

I am absolutely positive that one of our G+ APIoneers like +Gerwin Sturm +Daniel Treadwell or +Mohamed Mansour - will develop a cool thing to do this all for you, but for now - this might be a good way for you to start doing a little research without the aid of a program!

In Part II, I will show an example of this process and analyze the findings!

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